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Chocolates ‘the way’ to every guy’s sweet heart

Date Posted: 2005-02-11

A visit to any supermarket in Okinawa will quickly focus on special Valentine Day sales.

Sweets, mostly chocolates surrounded by plenty of hearts and signs proclaiming the February 14th date, has girls and women hustling to buy up the special tokens of their affection. Unlike America, Valentine’s Day here in Japan is symbolized by the women treating their men in a very special fashion.

Of course, turnabout is in order, and that happens with White Day in March, when the men are expected to offer presents and cards to their ladies. And, notes one store owner, jewelry is a popular token of affection too.

There are several quasi-requirements for women doing the chocolates shopping. She first selects the chocolates for the love of her life. A second is known as “duty chocolates” which are for presentation to bosses and superiors. A third chocolate is called “friends chocolate”, and is burgeoning into a large new market. It isn’t symbolizing love, but rather, a sign of appreciation between close friends.

Chocolates for the boys is big business. A new survey shows needs for the friends chocolate reaches down to the junior high school level, where 79% of the girls are digging into their purses to buy up the chocolates. The Valentine Day corners in each store feature a variety of friendship chocolates typically ranging from ¥150~450.

Under Japanese tradition, men do not give roses and chocolates to ladies on Valentine Day.

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